This week, Richard Linklater's latest film, Everybody Wants Some!!, opens in select cities across America. Dubbed as a spiritual sequel to his 1991 classic Dazed and Confused, Everybody Wants Some!! offers a glimpse into the life of a group of baseball players in 1980s Austin. The film features an ensemble cast, including Wyatt Russel (22 Jump Street), as well as newcomers J. Quinton Johnson and Juston Street. I was fortunate enough to sit down with this trio at a short roundtable discussion last week, where I asked the group a couple of questions, leading to an amusing glimpse into the film and the actors themselves.
Note: Answers have been very slightly edited for clarity and proper structuring. All meaning has been retained.
Congrats on the movie, it's awesome, a great time. What I found most appealing was that you all had great on-screen chemistry, so how easily did you guys mesh together? And, who do you think is the funniest person in real life?
Russell: That truly is an impossible question to answer.
Street: We did a three week rehearsal process living in Rick's ranch in a cabin all of us in bunk beds, 12 of us in one room, 12 guys in one room, sharing one bathroom and one shower- that's a conglomeration of many answers. And, uh... and... I don't remember what I was supposed to say. What are we talking about? ~laughter~
Russell and Johnson: Who's the funniest?
Street: Oh yeah! We would sit around a table, and you could literally, proverbially, put the spotlight on any one of us and we would all just start cracking up. Literally, like two days ago, we were all sitting around a table, enjoying it, and every person would kinda grab the ball and run with it. We just started cracking up.
Russell: It was definitely a quick group, we spent 3 weeks at Rick's ranch, and everybody got to know each other about in a day and a half. It was like "You're the best dude ever!! We love each other! This is going to be the greatest thing!" And then, for a little while, you were waiting for when does the bad apple going to turn rotten, when does that thing going to happen? Just waited for it, waited for it, and about a week into it, everybody is legitimately who they are. That's what is was- everybody is who they are. That's truly the way it is, so that was like immediate. It truly was immediate. We still are all as good friends as we could possibly have to this day. It was a special experience that way, a truly special experience that way.
Street: I'm very thankful for it.
For the 2 J's, I know you both have considerable theater experience. How different was shooting on film, and which do you prefer?
Street: It's both. I mean, I think when you are in a theater, you need to listen and you really need to respond. Your audience is watching you, and they're feeling you, so you're going to lose them in three lines if you're not real. I think that it is the same as for film- they have a camera right in your face that doesn't lie. It sucks your soul out and it sends it through and they put it on a big screen, so you better be real, you better be listening, and you better be honest. Whatever you honestly are will show up. I think theater is awesome, and I think film is awesome, and I don't know any differences. I love the stage, I love film.
Johnson: You're telling stories either way. I can't decide between either, because it's just different conventions of telling a story. What I love to do is tell stories. That's all I can say.
Street: Some film people can't do theater because they just can't- you can cut around them and they can work. Some theater people can't do film, it's too much, it's too big, they're projecting too far to the back of the row. I think that what's cool about this film is there was an element of physical comedy, because in the 70s and 80s, you're moving. Everybody's moving, and that is cool. To be able to implement a lot of that was fun.
Johnson: It's a dial. You find the truth, and then if it's film, maybe the dial goes up to 1 or 2, because the camera's right there. But, if you're on stage, you've got to take the dial up to 7 or 8 as to make sure that they can hear you at the back of the house. You've got to find the truth first and then you can play around with that dial. But the people that may have a hard time going back and forth, I don't know if the truth is there, you're not really just putting the dial on the actual truth- you're trying to find this system, be like "can we get the EQ set up, now let me turn the dial on, let me go over here to my film." There's too many machines. There's just the truth, and then you figure it out.
Street: Believe it or not, it's a very philosophical story. If you can't tell, we're a very philosophical group of people. ~laughter~
Everybody Wants Some opens in Philadelphia on Friday, April 8th. Check back for my review next week. (hint: Everybody's gonna want some!!)